2022 marks the 100th anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri’s sad demise. He was the second Prime Minister of Independent India, and Mahatma Gandh’s beliefs and teachings had a tremendous impact on his life. He gave the slogan “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan,” which means “Hail the army, Hail the farmer.”
Let’s take a closer look at Lal Bahadur Shastri’s life.
Lal Bahadur Shastri was born on 2nd of October 1904 in Mughalsarai, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. His parents were Sharada Prasad Shrivastava and Ramdulari Devi is Ramdulari. He was married to Lalita Devi. He was part of the Indian National Congress (INC) political party. Lal Bahadur Shastri passed away on 11th January 1966 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. A memorial in his honor can be found at the Vijay Ghat, New Delhi.
Lal Bahadur Shastri attended Mughalsarai and Varanasi’s East Central Railway Inter College. In 1926, he received his diploma from the Kashi Vidyapeeth. Vidya Peeth bestowed upon him the title “Shastri,” which means “Scholar,” as part of his bachelor’s degree award. He was greatly inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and Lokmanya Tilak.
On May 16, 1928, he married Lalita Devi. He became a life member of Lala Lajpat Rai’s Servants of the People Society (Lok Sevak Mandal). He began working for the upliftment of the underprivileged there, eventually becoming the President of the Society.
Shastri ji joined the Indian Independence Campaign in the 1920s, when he took part in the non-cooperation movement. The British imprisoned him for a period of time.
He also took part in the Salt Satyagraha in 1930, for which he was imprisoned for over two years. He became the Organizing Secretary of the U.P. Parliamentary Board in 1937. In 1942, after Mahatma Gandhi delivered the Quit India speech in Mumbai, he was again imprisoned until 1946. Shastri has served a total of nine years in prison. He read books and became acquainted with the writings of western philosophers, revolutionaries, and social reformers during his time in prison.
Achievements in Politics
Lal Bahadur Shastri became the Parliamentary Secretary in Uttar Pradesh after India’s independence. In 1947, he was also appointed Minister of Police and Transport. For the first time as Transport Minister, he appointed female conductors. As the minister in charge of the Police Department, he issued an order instructing officers to use water jets rather than lathis to disperse enraged crowds.
Shastri was appointed General Secretary of the All-India Congress Committee in 1951, and he was successful in publicizing the poll and other election-related activities. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh in 1952. In 1955, as Railway Minister, he installed the first machine at Chennai’s Integral Coach Factory.
Shastri was re-elected as Minister of Transport and Communications in 1957, and then as Minister of Commerce and Industry in 1958. He became Home Minister in 1961, and he established the Committee on Corruption Prevention. He devised the well-known “Shastri Formula,” which included language uprisings in Assam and Punjab.
Lal Bahadur Shastri was elected Prime Minister of India on June 9, 1964. He was a proponent of the White Revolution, a nationwide push to boost milk production. He was also a proponent of the Green Revolution, which aimed to boost India’s food output.
Though Shastri maintained Nehru’s non-alignment policy, he also established a friendship with the Soviet Union. Concerned about the position of Indian Tamils in Ceylon, he struck an agreement with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike in 1964. The Srimavo-Shastri Pact is the name of this arrangement.
In 1965, Shastri paid an official visit to Rangoon, Burma, and re-established excellent relations with General Ne Win’s military government. In 1965, India was attacked by Pakistan again during his presidency. He gave the Security Forces the freedom to react and declared, “Force shall be met with Force.”
On September 23, 1965, the Indo-Pak conflict came to an end. On January 10, 1966, Russian Prime Minister Kosygin volunteered to mediate the signing of the Tashkent Declaration by Lal Bahadur Shastri and his Pakistani counterpart Ayub Khan.
On January 11, 1966, Lal Bahadur Shastri died of a heart attack. In 1966, he was posthumously given the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour.
Lal Bahadur Shastri was well-known for his honesty and skill. He was a humble, tolerant man with immense inner power who spoke the common man’s language. He was strongly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings and was also a visionary leader who guided countries toward prosperity.
Lal Bahadur Shastri’s little-known facts
- Lal Bahadur Shastri, India’s second Prime Minister, was born on October 2nd, the same day as Mahatma Gandhi.
2. He was awarded the title of ‘Shastri’ by Kashi Vidyapeeth University in 1926 as a symbol of intellectual achievement.
3. Shastri swam the Ganges twice a day to get to school and wore books on his head because he could not afford to rent a boat at the time.
4. When Lal Bahadur Shastri was the Minister of Uttar Pradesh, he was the first to employ water jets instead of lathi charges to disperse crowds.
5. He coined the phrase “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan” and was instrumental in defining India’s destiny.
6. He was imprisoned because he participated in the non-cooperation movement during Gandhi Ji’s Freedom Struggle, but he was released because he was still a minor, aged 17 years old.
7. After independence, as Transport Minister, he mandated the hiring of female conductors and drivers in public transit.
8. He accepted a Khadi cloth and a spinning wheel as a dowry in his wedding. He criticized and protested the dowry and caste systems with his voice up.
9. He took part in the Salt March and was sentenced to two years in prison.
10. While serving as Home Minister, he established the first anti-corruption committee.
12. He became involved in the freedom movement in the 1920s and became a senior leader of the Indian National Congress.
13. He had also backed the White Revolution as a means of raising milk output in the country. He established the National Dairy Development Board and backed the Anand, Gujarat-based Amul milk cooperative.
14. On January 10, 1966, he signed the Tashkent Declaration with Pakistan President Muhammad Ayub Khan to terminate the 1965 conflict.
15. He was a self-disciplined individual with excellent morals and self-esteem. After becoming Prime Minister, he did not even buy a car.
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